TRUST club pushes for inclusion among students

Senior Rachel Folden spends time with a fellow TRUST buddy. Building trust and friendships during meetings every  Wednesday strengthens the heart and mind to include anyone and everyone.

Photo by Rosie Nichols

Senior Rachel Folden spends time with a fellow TRUST buddy. Building trust and friendships during meetings every Wednesday strengthens the heart and mind to include anyone and everyone.

Rosie Nichols, Layout Editor

The Pony TRUST club began with a push for inclusion among the student body, as well as staff members. The program betters relationships between students with or without disabilities by promoting acceptance regardless of social norms or labels. The Pony TRUST club consists of student with disabilities and without. They work together to create an atmosphere of unification. They meet every other Wednesday at 7:15 a.m., as well as every flex time. During these meetings they participate in activities that strengthen their relationships.

Furthermore, the idea of inclusion among the student body is not where it should be. Students work to open their minds to the idea that not all peers look, talk, act or think like they do. This “inclusion revolution” is slowly, but surely, making its way to be the new social norm.

“Instead of saying ‘This is my autistic friend Joe,’ say ‘This is my friend Joe and he has autism.’ Put the person before the disability, because we are all people who are not defined by disabilities. The inclusion revolution is no matter who you are, no matter what disability you have, no matter what you look like, or what your brain does, we are all equals, we all deserve to have friends,” senior Elsa Ohmann said.

Instead of saying ‘This is my autistic friend Joe,’ say ‘This is my friend Joe and he has autism.’ Put the person before the disability, because we are all people who are not defined by disabilities.”

— Elsa Ohmann

The Pony TRUST club not only affects students with disabilities, it also positively impacts general ed students gain friendships. The club has a heavy focus on breaking down all social barriers and interacting as equals, this is what will push students to step out of their element and realize that there is more to life than sticking to the status quo. The Pony TRUST club builds connections and lasting friendships.

“Even like when you see someone in the hallway and you say hi, that makes anyone’s day, obviously. So I think, it impacts both sides because just having that relationship it betters the connections,” sophomore Ella Hamilton said.

Not only will students create a fully accepting educational environment, but these skills will carry with them in years to come post-graduation. Each student, advisor and faculty member involved with this program receives skills that enhance their everyday life and with that, boosting awareness and equality.

The program naturally fosters new friendships among the TRUST Club/Unified PE classmates and promotes students’ leadership and social skills/competencies.  I work closely with my general education students to help them better understand their classmates’ needs and to brainstorm ideas for adaptations. Students really “think outside the box” about new ways to work with their friends,” Paula Harrison, the Pony TRUST club advisor and DAPE teacher said.